Monday 19 May 2014

Review: Blue Ruin

World of Blackout Film Review

Blue Ruin Poster

Blue Ruin
Cert: 15 / 90 mins / Dir. Jeremy Saulnier
WoB Rating: 6/7

Within the first few minutes of Jeremy Saulner's Blue Ruin, your heart is already breaking for Macon Blair's Dwight, with a haunted face which tells you so much about his state of mind before he's even said a word, and hollow puppy-dog eyes which manage to plead and threaten at the same time. For an American actor (and character), he has some very British mannerisms, and uses them to make his character absolutely intriguing, like Javier Bardem's younger, accountant brother. There should be a new word invented that sounds like 'tense', but means about a hundred more times tense than 'tense'. Fuck, this film is tense.

Like all the best revenge-plots, the events of this film soon spiral out of all semblance of control, but never become unbelievable. It's apparent early-on that the chances of a happy ending are slim-to-non-existent, but the film's masterstroke is making you care nonetheless. In the first two acts, the violence is used sporadically enough not to be a supporting pillar of the film, although the bursts there are could well be described as 'gleeful' (and I challenge you not to wince when Dwight has to remove a crossbow-bolt from his leg). It all heats up in the final act, of course, but still never becomes the Hollywood version of Revenge™ that other films frequently use.

On a technical note, it sounds like all of the dialogue was recorded on-set (as opposed to ADR), as there are a few scenes where background noise picked up by the microphones threatens to drown out what's being said. On a lighter note, that's a pretty good haircut Dwight gives himself, considering a) he's not a hairdresser, and b) he's only using one hand to do it. And on a writing note, Devin Ratray gives a fantastic supporting performance as Dwight's childhood friend, Ben, and contributes the film's best line:
"I know this is personal, and that's how it'll fail. No speeches; no talkin'. You point the gun, you shoot the gun."

Blue Ruin. Because sometimes there's no such thing as right and wrong. Just wrong and wronger. Not an easy watch, but a thing of focused, savage beauty.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
It's not a million miles off the mark, no.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
It does.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
It'll work on DVD/BRD if you watch it in the evening.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
A little.

Will I watch it again?
I will, but probably not often.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
There ain't.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

And my question for YOU is…
How long do you think it would take you to dig a grave if you had to? It seems fairly quick and easy in films, but I'm pretty sure it'd be my Achilles heel if I was on the clock...
"The victim was found half-arsedly buried under four inches of loose gravel, your honour."

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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